Given Lubinda justifies budget reduction allocated to Agriculture

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President Edgar Chagwa Lungu with Agriciculture minister Given Lubinda at Klein Karoo Seed field demonstration in Chisamba during the Agritech Expo Zambia 2015 on Saturday, April 18, 2015. PICTURE BY EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATE HOUSE ©2015
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu with Agriciculture minister Given Lubinda at Klein Karoo Seed field demonstration in Chisamba during the Agritech Expo Zambia 2015 on Saturday, April 18, 2015. PICTURE BY EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATE HOUSE ©2015

GOVERNMENT says the decline in allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture in the 2016 Budget allocation has been necessitated by the ongoing massive infrastructure development such as construction of roads and bridges taking shape throughout the country.

In the 2016 budget, the Government has allocated to spend K1 billion to the agriculture sector down from K1.1 billion which was allocated in the 2015 budget.

Speaking during the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) budget breakfast meeting in Lusaka yesterday, Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda said a lot of money had been allocated to support infrastructure development as a result funds allocated to other sectors were reduced.

Mr Lubinda, however, said one million farmers were going to benefit from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) out of which 759,000 would benefit from the convention way while 241,000 would access their farming inputs through the newly introduced E-voucher system.

Mr Lubinda urged Members of Parliament to sensitise small scale farmers in their various constituencies on the importance of accessing inputs through the E-voucher project.

He said the average subsidy across the crops for the 2015/2016 agricultural season would be 72 percent compared to 66 percent in the 2014/2015 season.

Mr Lubinda further said the Government was going to allocate one million hectares of land to farmers venturing in agriculture so as to enable them produce more maize and hence reduce poverty among the people.

Mr Lubinda bemoaned the high cost of fertiliser on the market and urged the traders to reduce the price of the commodity as this would have a negative effect on next year’s harvest.

Some traders in some parts of the country are reportedly selling a 50 kilogramme bag of fertilizer at over K350.

Mr Lubinda said also that millers were free to sell their mealie-meal outside the country if they had surplus stocks beyond what the local market could consume.

And in his presentation, IAPRI research analyst Auckland Kuteya commended Government for introducing the E-voucher pilot, saying the project would provide small-scale farmers a wider choice of inputs and promote agricultural diversification.

‘’The E-voucher pilot would also increase private sector participation in input market, timely supply of agricultural inputs which would result in greater economical multi-supplier effect’’, Mr Kuteya said.

Mr Kuteya recommended among other things the increase in funding to the fisheries and livestock departments and improved timing of budget releases and limitation of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in maize market.

He further called on Government to uphold the Maputo Declaration of allocating at least 10 percent of public expenditure to the agricultural sector.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, for independence day what a message. You shouldn’t be salvaging your failures and worse off stupefy yourselves as the whole world is increasing budgets in Agriculture to meet growing populations. Worse off you say its for infrastructure. Every one starts with food. Honesty this is 1diocy at majesty’s level. Any way please talk about the country’s achievements and direction for the coming year. Honours present and past for outstanding things etc.

    Thanks

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    • Why don’t we just call him the Minister of Maize…this govt and previous ones will never push for diversification of our diet as the elite benefits greatly from the corruption than comes with growing this expensive crop from inputs, to haulage, milling etc.

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  2. They all look confused in that top photo. This Lubinda is now getting mad. Mr Minister, first put food on your table then you can talk about this infamous infrastructure development.
    Have your priorities baba. In my culture, a young man is only allowed to marry when he is capable of feeding the wife. Roads are required but food is a life necessity.

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  3. These are the selfsame empty tins singing to us about diversification of the economy….agriculture contributed more to GDP in the last couple years than mining where we get peanuts; the only reason these empty tins are neglecting it is for merely selfish reasons; the answer to youth unemployment, forex, growth is in this sector but these thieves would rather put money in roads as its easier to steal and duped the electorate….Agriculture is hardwork and long term planning not for lazy empty tins in this government.

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  4. Bo Lubinda, what kind of myophic thinking is this. We expect you to fight and support your ministry, afterall, agruculture should be priority number one in this country. Ooh Lord, I am giving up with these people. The little hope I had in you bwana has but gone.

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  5. The reason the ruling thieves do not want to put money in agriculture is because that will help bakachema to become well off. Yet, the same thieves complain when bakachema want higher prices for their maize and beef!

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